In 1977, Star Wars introduced the world to a whole new galaxy of technological possibilities. Among this technology is the iconic lightsaber, an elegant weapon for a more civilized age, according to Obi-Wan Kenobi. Each movie in the core saga of the Star Wars franchise has a lightsaber duel of some sort. Honestly, these battles are some of my favorite moments in each film. Below, I rank my personal top 5 favorite lightsaber fights.
- Darth Vader v. Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi, A New Hope – C’mon, I know it isn’t the most intense, or cinematically pleasing duel of all time, but was the first lightsaber fight to grace a movie screen. Ever. It’s iconic. We see an idea of what it looks like for two sides of the Force to battle it out with their weapon of choice. Darth Vader and Obi-Wan do a little smack talk, Obi-Wan sacrifices himself so Luke and crew can escape and to help further his training. You can’t deny the fact that this was a big moment. And worthy of making my list.
- Darth Vader v. Luke Skywalker, The Empire Strikes Back – Yes, another not-so-high intensity fight, but it leads to one of the most quotable lines in Star Wars lore. “I am your father.” Darth Vader reveals to Luke (after a pretty impressive duel that ends with Luke losing an arm. These Skywalker boys and their affinity for losing limbs) that Obi-Wan only told the truth from a certain point of view and that he is, in fact, his father. It sets the stage for the final movie and for the overarching theme of the central eight (soon to be nine) movies about this family and the Skywalker legacy. Pretty big deal.
- Kylo Ren and Rey v. Snoke’s Praetorian Guards, The Last Jedi – As polarizing as Episode VIII was for some reason (honestly, I loved it but I can see why others don’t), fans and haters alike have to admit the battle between Kylo Ren and Rey and the Praetorian Guards of the recently deceased Supreme Leader Snoke is about as epic as they come. Lucasfilm calls Kylo and Rey two sides of the protagonist, so to see the light and the dark side working together in balance as The Force intended is amazing. These two don’t miss a beat against multiple highly skilled fighters, each with an arsenal of weapons. From Rey’s infamous thigh grab to Kylo activating Luke’s lightsaber through a guard’s face, there is never a break from the action here. You literally have to watch it several times in a row to pick up on everything that is happening at once. Will Kylo and Rey eventually join teams for real, creating true balance, in Episode IX? This fan certainly hopes so.
- Anakin (Darth Vader) v. Obi-Wan Kenobi, Revenge of the Sith – These two can’t stop fighting, so it seems. The lightsaber battle on Mustafar between master and fallen apprentice is nothing short of a masterpiece. Say what you want about the Prequels (they aren’t that bad, ok), but they knew how to choreograph a fight. What makes this #2 on my list is not only the intense dueling above the lava and ash, but the emotion. Anakin has been doubting the Jedi for years, and let’s face it, the Counsel was never really supportive of the guy. Anakin has fallen into the lures and lies of the dark side of the Force by Darth Sidious who offers the unattainable goal of cheating death for those you love. Anakin succumbs to this seduction and battles his former master, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Obi-Wan heartbreakingly defeats Anakin and then cries out about how he loved Anakin as a brother and how much it hurts him to see him fall to the Sith. Good fighting and great action full of raw emotion. Easily the highlight of Episode III.
- Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi v. Darth Maul, The Phantom Menace – Try as much as every Star Wars movie and choreographer has since the release of Episode I to top this battle, they have fallen short. What Ray Park’s Darth Maul lacks in screen time, he more than makes up for with his martial arts inspired lightsaber fight style and (almost) unbeatable moves. I say almost because Maul is defeated by Obi-Wan here, for the first time. Because this fight sequence is such a fan favorite and because Maul is just plain awesome, LucasFilm brought him back in the series The Clone Wars and ultimately back onto the big screen in Solo. From the iconic John Williams music to fast paced saber clashing, this battle redeemed so many of the mistakes Episode I made (I’m looking at you, Jar Jar Binks). The battle ends with the death of Qui-Gon and apparent death of Darth Maul, leaving Obi-Wan to train Anakin. As we’ve seen from the notes above, that doesn’t go so well.
What about you? What is your favorite lightsaber battle? What are your top 5? Is there one missing from my list that you feel should have made the cut? Comment below or share on Facebook.